River Connections, Inverness

lost tongue

At the end of September I was in Inverness, where I saw a batch of poems I wrote last year about the River Ness and its vast catchment area being installed on the new flood wall. I’d been asked by Mary Bourne to produce the work, which she intended to carve directly onto the wall, but it turned out the stone wasn’t good for carving (a soft sandstone, with hard bits of quartz spread erratically through it), so she had most of the poems etched onto steel and set into the wall. The masons were at work setting them into the coping as we walked along the riverbank in unseasonably warm sunshine.

The poems are mostly on Bank Street, between the Young Street Bridge and the pedestrian bridge, though there are a few beyond that, along Douglas Row towards the Friars Bridge. A further group of texts will be installed on the west bank of the river in the new year, and stones featuring circle poems written by local writers are to be installed at Kessock Road near the mouth of the river shortly.

Seven Miles
Loch nan Oighreagan
never freeze
Loch Ness, Columba
immigrants and emigrants

4 thoughts on “River Connections, Inverness”

  1. Hi
    I recently visited Inverness and managed to take a photo of the poem above ending “or just a lost tongue’s word for river. Intriguing but I didn’t have the time to find the other writings along Ness. Do you know if they can be found on the Internet?
    Best Regards – Lars-Erik Gustavsson, Sweden

    1. I couldn’t find them anywhere on the internet, but as I’m still in the city, I walked down a took some photos of the poem. Here are the words (because I really liked it too):
      Rivers hold
      the oldest names
      We have the word
      but lack its sense
      Ness might mean
      now or headland
      a murmuring
      of running water
      lake of the falls
      the name of a goddess
      or just a lost tongue’s
      word for river

      1. Dear Indigo,
        I’m very glad you enjoyed the works along the riverside, and thanks for taking the time to comment.
        They’re published in my collection Floating the Woods (Luath, 2018), which you can buy online, or directly from myself.
        If you’d like a copy let me know.
        Best wishes,

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